The University of Redlands women's basketball team battled it out against the Bristol University Bears on Tuesday night in a non-conference match-up at the Chapman Winter Classic. After what seemed to be an insurmountable deficit, the Bulldogs rallied back in dramatic fashion to defeat the Bears on a game-winning jumper by senior forward Victoria Fakalata (East Palo Alto, CA) with two seconds left on the clock, resulting in a 70-69 victory.
A slow start by the Bulldogs led to a 15-point deficit through the first seven minutes of action. Fakalata, senior guard Kaity Lykins (Simi Valley, CA), and freshman forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA) accounted for Redlands' five points amidst the offensive struggles.
However, the Bulldogs refused to back down, with senior forward Nicole Packard (Thousand Oaks, CA) knocking down a pair of free-throws to halt the team's scoring drought. A few moments later, senior guard Caitlin Ciardella (South San Francisco, CA) converted a trey to make it 10-22 with 11:44 to go in the first half.
From here, Redlands continued to trim the deficit, when freshman forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) took over the scoring duties by notching seven points in a six-minute span, primarily from the free-throw line and with mid-range jumpers.
The Bulldogs' 14-2 run to finish out the first frame made it a six-point game at the break.
The momentum stayed with the Maroon and Gray, as Fakalata and Lykins teamed up to keep the Bulldogs within striking distance by combining for the first nine points of the second half.
The duo stayed hot to guide the Bulldogs back into the game, with Lykins converting a jumper with 8:55 left in the second stanza to tie up the tally at 54 apiece.
With just under four minutes remaining, a pair of successful free-throws by Siksnus knotted the score at 64, before the Bulldogs grabbed the lead off of a Lykins jumper with 2:45 on the clock. Fakalata then snapped the bottom of the net with a jumper, pushing the Bulldogs' lead to 68-65.
However, the advantage was very short-lived, as Bristol notched a quick four points in the last minute to go up by a score of 69-68.
After a key offensive rebound by sophomore guard Selena Iriarte (Wilmington, CA) and a pair of timeouts, the Bulldogs set up an inbounds play for Fakalata, who hit the game-winning score with two ticks left on the clock.
Bristol's final possession came up empty, resulting in the Maroon and Gray's exciting 70-69 triumph.
For Redlands, Fakalata finished with a double-double, scoring 19 points and hauling in 10 rebounds. Lykins also recorded a double-double by draining 16 points and corralling a game-high 15 rebounds, with 10 of those coming on the offensive end of the floor. Ta'amu acted as the Bulldogs' sparkplug off the bench by notching 11 points in just eight minutes. Iriarte and Ciardella served as excellent ball-distributors by combining for nine assists.
The Bulldogs (4-6, 1-0 SCIAC) return to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Saturday, January 3, by traveling to Claremont to face the Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. at the Rains Center on the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges' campus due to construction at CMS.